We study the process by which an organisation creates a historical narrative about itself as a strategy to legitimise the role it plays in a particular society. By using the concept of ‘public good’ as our analytical lens, we show that when the organisation creates a narrative that coincides with that of the nation-state, this poses enormous challenges to the organisation’s efforts to control how and by whom this narrative is used. This is because anyone belonging to the nation-state can legitimately make use of that narrative. Therefore, the boundary conditions that permit other actors to use these historical narratives are delimited by those able to define who belongs to the nation-state and who does not. We illustrate our argument with the rhetorical strategies developed by Colombia’s Coffee Growers Federation (FNCC) between 1927 and 2013.
- historical narratives
- public goods
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)